A Long and Narrow Road

Here, the struggle begins, one step at a time.


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Push

Path

Everyone has one of these pics in their camera, right? Today, I needed a little shove. A “push” if you will. I did not get out at all this weekend to do anything fun or active. I had planned to take The Pup (affectionately called Otter Pup) on a nice, long walk but The Hub beat me to it not once, but twice. I guess I need to get up a little quicker or communicate better (probably both).

Sigh.

But I CAN say that all weekend long I made good food choices. Salads instead of burgers, twice! That’s right! With The Teen in the house, when we catch a bite to eat, it’s often burgers but luckily, the places we went to had salads on the menu as well. Nice, healthy salads and just a drizzle of dressing. Whatever I had lost by not walking this weekend, was made-up for on the food front.

However, back to today. This morning, getting out of bed was not all that hard. I got a lot of rest this weekend which made the getting up part easier and I actually looked forward to hitting the road for my walk. But my body was a bit reluctant so I decided to bring the camera with me. I thought, that if I took some photos, the walk would be more interesting, and I was right.

That shot above, is the obligatory shoe shot that all walkers take at some point. As you can see in the shot, my stomach seemed to want to get in on the action. I took three shots. One with me leaning WAY over so you would not see my stomach, but then thought, what the heck am I doing? I already told you that I was fat, why hide it now? Maybe by January, my stomach won’t be invited to the party. Oh, and the shoes… I know! They could NOT be more boring. I want some zippy looking ones but I will reward myself with them at Christmas if I continue to do well with the walking.

Path #1

Kind of dark, huh? That is how it looks when I first set-out at 6am. As I mentioned in a previous post, I love to walk in the dark. It’s not the safest thing to do and I take precautions of course, but you can’t beat the coolness of the morning and the solitude. I do my best thinking in the morning. It’s the one time where I can skip along (I hardly skip) and not think too much about the problems swimming around in my head. In the dark, coolness of those shadows, I can let it all go. That is one aspect of walking that I love.

When you find yourself less than motivated on a Monday, how do you push ahead? The picture thing worked for me. I took a lot of pictures, but since it was so dark, many of them didn’t turn out but that’s okay. Taking them made me appreciate what was around me and honestly, the time flew by and I was done before I realized it. In fact, I walked over the 2 miles I had set out to do. Not too shabby for a Monday.

Now? I am at work and about to start my day, but first…coffee. Where is the coffee?

Have a good day and if you manage to get out at all, enjoy it! I work in a windowless prison of an office so when I get out, it’s like seeing the light of day for the first time. I seriously need to get out more.

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Purpose

It’s been a rough couple of days. My daughter’s cold turned into something a little more serious which required me to stay home with her. So, I missed my morning walk for the past two days.

Then, The Teen’s over-active, over-achieving self, literally imploded which forced me to actually put on clothes, as I had been wearing workout clothes for two days straight. Why dress when all you are doing is walking back and forth between the medicine cabinet and the pantry for crackers? Anyway, The Teen’s situation is that of “too much.” Too much everything. Over-worked and stressed, something had to give and it did, in a big way.

I am still dealing with it this morning which made this morning’s walk as difficult as it was needed.

I’ve always told my kids to “walk with a purpose” when they seem hesitant or unsure of something. It’s the best advice if you really think about it. Walking into a room of unknowns can only be made more stressful by entering it with your head down and a lag in your step. Today, I followed my own advice. I walked with a purpose.

Mostly, it was to rid myself of the negative talk circling around in my head but it also had to do with what I told The Teen last night. Make a commitment and stick to it. Uh? Oh, yeah. I said that, didn’t I? So when it came time for me to walk today and all I wanted to do was go to the coffee shop, I forced myself to hit the road.

At first I was irritable. It was really windy this morning and a cold 49 degrees which is freezing to this SoCal resident. But as soon as I got going, I thought, “this isn’t so bad” and then I found $5! That was a little perk. Oh, and did I mention that I lost 8 lbs since I started walking two weeks ago? Now, you may remember that when I first started walking my body freaked out and GAINED 5 lbs, so realistically, I am only considering this a true 3 lbs loss but I’ll take it!

As I walked, I worried about The Teen and his situation. And then I got to thinking about how important the act of walking is when things are weighing heavily on your mind. Putting the exercise piece of it aside, you’ve got that long road ahead of you, the wind is pushing you back and all you can do is put down one foot at a time. For some of us, speed is an issue but I never worry about speed. I just think about that first step and then the next and before I know it, I’m done.

In this sense, my walking with a purpose didn’t remove the problem at hand but it put things in perspective and now everything seems clearer and more manageable than it did when I woke up this morning. Walking can have that effect on you. I didn’t go far, my usual 1.5 miles and I didn’t go fast, but I went and that is the important thing.

When I am feeling down, it’s so easy to make myself more miserable. All I have to do is convince myself that it’s all pointless. What’s a lousy 1.5-2 mile walk really going to do for me? I could use that 28 minutes to take a cat nap instead or I could pop open a bag of chips and have a “few” and then maybe a glass of wine to go with? THAT will make me feel better. And yes, I have done that routine before and it NEVER makes me feel better. I always end up feeling guilty and yes, it makes me feel like a total loser and you know what happens then? Then it’s a free-for-all and anything goes which makes you feel like even more of loser. It’s a never-ending cycle and all because of some negative self talk.

I am not perfect and I can’t give advice to others in my position because I did fall off the Weight Watcher wagon in a huge, disastrous way, but as I learn what my weaknesses are, I hope that someone else can learn from my weaknesses and mistakes as well, because that would make me feel really good.

Right now though, I am off to make myself some coffee. Enjoy your weekend.


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Darkness

From the title of this post, you probably think I’ve fallen off the deep end. Such a heavy title for a Tuesday morning. Nope, what I am referring to is the absence of light. Specifically, the dark, cool mornings that I choose to walk in. I work at a university and I am surrounded by lovely walking paths. There is a botanical garden, a duck pond, an eco-system complete with futuristic looking pods and a gorgeous orange grove. These are best seen by the light of day, but I choose to walk in the dark.

It’s true, I am a little self-conscious when it comes to exercise. I don’t look pretty while doing it and I have been known to trip and make unpleasant faces when I am in a really bad mood. I once heard a person on Oprah say that she walked in a cemetery because the dead don’t care. I totally understood what she meant, To walk without judgment and to just meander along without worrying about how you look doing it? Bliss. That is why I walk in the dark.

Plus, I love the smells of the morning. And yes, sometimes when I walk past the University Club I smell bacon which has the ability to infuriate and thrill me all at once. Not sure what that says about me.

No, for me the darkness of the morning signals the beginning of not just a new day, but a new…anything. It’s hopeful and comforting and even though I groaned as I stepped into my shoes (I am such a whiner) there was a tiny piece of me that really wanted to hit the road.

Does that mean it’s getting easier? I am only into week 2 of walking but today I did notice a little less reluctance to get it done. I can’t say I will feel that way every day but I was surprised to feel that way today. In your head, when you decide to walk for 10, 15 or 45 minutes, you don’t feel as if you are accomplishing all that much but it all adds up and it’s got to be better than doing nothing, right? Walking may not transform my body overnight but I have to believe that it’s doing me good somewhere or I’d stretch out on my office floor and take a nap on my hardly used yoga mat.

Yep, I’ve done that.

One step at a time, people. One step at a time.


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Frustration

After a week of walking and mindful eating, I have gained no less than 5 lbs. Yes! How can that be? Well, for me it’s not so unusual. When I do something good for my body, my body freaks out in the most unfortunate way. Sometimes it’s a weight gain, other times it’s random swelling or headaches. It’s frustrating as hell to be doing something right, and have it backfire on you, but in the end I know it’s gotta be the right thing to do. I mean, I can’t go through life continuing to do the wrong thing. It’s going to catch up with me (if it hasn’t already). It has to. So, I stumble along and hope that at some point, I will begin to see the rewards.

Today, that meant forcing myself to walk out the door when all I really wanted to do was call in sick and go back to bed. Instead, I jammed my feet into my walking shoes and took off. I can’t tell you that my walk was an easy one. The entire time that little voice in my head was complaining about my pulled back muscle, about the lack of sleep and that there are a million other things I could be doing, but I forced myself to finish.

How do I feel now? I feel good that I finished, but I still feel this overwhelming sense of failure. There’s no logic to it, and if I spend too much time thinking about it it would totally bring me down. Mostly it has to do with the pulled muscle in my back, it’s a painful reminder of how screwed up my body is and its constant nagging is driving me crazy.

It also has to do with the fact that I forgot my breakfast at home.

Tomorrow will be better.


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Detour

Yesterday, when I hit 1.5 miles while walking, I made a deal with myself.

I told myself yesterday that if I walked 2 miles, instead of my normal 1.5, that I could skip my walk TODAY and treat myself to a sugar free Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Ugh.

Did I really do that? Reward myself with food after only 4 days into my new “try to be aware and not be a loser” program?

Yes. I drove to the coffee shop, I picked up my latte and headed back to the car and then felt incredibly, ENORMOUSLY, guilty. Because it hit me. I rewarded myself with food and even if it was sugar free and all, I still did exactly what I set out NOT to do.

So, I locked up my stuff, grabbed my heavenly drink (it really was heavenly) and started to walk. I picked a direction and took off. Granted, my walk was not as far as I’ve been doing and after hearing some voices in the wash where really, no voices should have been, I cut it a little short and turned around. All in all, it was a little over a mile.

I wasn’t dressed appropriately and now my hair is a frizzy mess but I feel as if I did something for that latte and don’t feel like a total loser, which is how I felt when I first wrapped my  hand around it.

This little experience of mine is proof that I have a lot to work on.  I have a very active family. We are always out and about. I work long days and get very little sleep so in my head, I just don’t have time for any of this. Heck, I’ve convinced myself that I don’t.

It’s going to take awhile to shift my way of thinking because I have been making excuses for so long. Right now, my goal is to make better choices. Baby steps. Doable, right? I think so, too.


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When I get Up

I feel:

Exhausted
Crabby
Slow
Ashamed
Angry
Resentful

But once the wave passes, I feel:

Hopeful

On some days, I feel as if I am on the brink of falling into a pit of despair. but I’ve never been one to get depressed for long periods of time. So what I experience instead are quick bouts of “miserable-ness” which usually hits first thing in the morning, like when I realize I have to exercise, and then small episodes of grumpiness are peppered here and there throughout my day.

It’s funny how you can go through life feeling okay, and then one trip to the dressing room or one quick glance at your reflection in a window is enough to send you over the edge. And then when it happens, why the destructive behavior afterward? When I see myself in a mirror or window, the first reaction is…disgust. Why isn’t that enough to send me off huffing to the gym? Instead, I make an extra yummy dinner and chow down. Why? Because to me, food is comforting. I have lots of other things that comfort me, but food is often the first thing that comes to mind.

It’s hard to admit, but it’s all true. Right now, no one is reading this entry but me, and I am still ashamed to write it. Today, when I got up and felt all those things I mentioned above, I also felt dread at putting on the walking shoes and heading out the door. It’s JUST walking!

It shouldn’t be so hard. This struggle to eat better, exercise more and make better choices but it is. I feel overwhelmed and sometimes I feel lost, but all I can do is get through one day at a time and right now, the workout is done, I am about to eat a sensible breakfast and now that I’ve shared some of my feelings here, I feel better. More optimistic and yes, hopeful.


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Doubt

What a dangerous word.

Today, marks my third day of walking. Not running, or jogging or even walking fast. Just walking, and yet I had such a difficult time taking the first step. Once I was dressed for the morning, I realized just how exhausted I felt. Let’s face it, I AM exhausted. I don’t sleep well and by mid-week, it catches up with me. Regardless, I got myself to work, stepped into my shoes and headed out the door.

The first few minutes felt great. The morning, nice and cool and the campus? Totally empty. I had the entire place to myself but with each step, I grumbled. When did such a simple thing as walking became a chore?

When?

Even when I WAS skinny, I still had issues with exercise of any kind. I hit my WW goal without ANY exercise and yes, I know the value of it and how good it is for you and how it helps to burn more calories, blah blah. It’s all true but it’s never been something that I enjoyed and so I struggle.

Right now, I am trying to not think of it as exercise. I’ve got tons of audio books loaded and I spend my walking time convincing myself that it’s ME time. It is, too. No question. I do my best thinking while pounding the pavement.

But the doubt, it lurks around every corner. At any moment I feel as if I will just give up. That’s a scary thing to admit. Inside, I am telling myself to suck it up. It’s what I would tell my kids and truthfully, I do say it to myself, but I whisper it in the most unconvincing way.

You know how so many have these ideal pictures in their head of what they want their body to look like? I don’t want anything special, I just want to be 50 lbs less than I am. That doesn’t even put me at where I need to be (according to a doctor) but I would be thrilled, THRILLED to lose 50. I don’t even care if the skin hangs off in folds after the loss. Just give me a 50 lbs loss.

Can I do it? Time will tell.